22 October 2014

Owl Hats Yarn Along

I am still crocheting those owl hats.  I had put them aside this past week, which means now I feel compelled to pick them up.  (Even guilt has its purposes...)  The colours don't show up as vividly in my photos, but they are very fun colours.  I also purchased some yarn to start a Christmas gift - a Rapunzel hat.  There are lots out there, but I haven't decided how it will look.  That'll be fun to mull over while I work on these owlies.

Currently I am reading (er, re-reading) Jane Eyre.  I am a bit of a romantic at heart, and this classic is a nice book to sit down to when I need to "turn off" or relax.  I am also reading (two books, I know!) The Spiritual Life by St. Theophan the Recluse.  It is profound.  Every sentence is full of wisdom and revelation.  It is deep enough that I can only get through a few pages at a time.  This book needs heavy reflection and digestion.  And yet, for all that, it's become one of my favourites.

And because I haven't remembered to before, and because it's been such a long time between recipe posts, and because they're just perfect for any occasion, I am posting the recipe for those chocolate chip cookies from last week.


1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda + 2 tsp hot water
3 cups flour
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup white chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Cream sugars and butter together.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well.  Add vanilla.  Mix salt and flour together separately.  Add to butter mixture and blend well.  In a small cup, mix baking soda with hot water and add to dough, mixing well.  Add chocolate chips and stir until uniformly combined.  Scoop rounded teaspoons onto a baking sheet and bake for about 10-12 minutes.  (If your cookies are larger, they'll need to bake longer.)  Let cool before eating or storing.

Joining Ginny and friends for this week's Yarn Along.  

18 October 2014


The kitchen is the heartbeat of our home.  There is always something going on here.  Always a gathering of bodies, food and projects.  Here are some of the things we've been up to during the week...

*                      *                         *                          *                     *                       *                       *

:: Basted turkey with oven roasted vegetables.  Very Thanksgiving-y.  :)  

:: Just loving being able to sit down with this machine.  Such a treat.  My mom and I went out to fabricland together and I got my hands on some polar fleece to line the hats.  I also couldn't resist the gorgeous blue gingham I found at the end.  It was begging to be made into a summer dress...

:: It feels like we went overboard with sweets this week.  Maybe not overboard, but certainly more than usual.  First try for these yeast donuts.  They were good - even better when filled with Nutella.  :)  The chocolate chip cookies were, of course, a hit with the kids.  What better way to use up leftover white chocolate chips!  I must say though, they are even better with M&Ms.  Just saying.  

:: Lego is his passion. He made that battleship all by himself.  Including the catapult.  Amazing.    

Joining Heather and friends for This Week In My Kitchen blog hop. 

11 October 2014

Kitchenry and hot lemonade

I've been fighting off a terrible cold this whole week.  I finally succumbed - I mean completely and totally succumbed - on Friday.  I had nothing.  Not even a smidgen of energy.  Even now I am still out for the count.  A red, bleary eyed, snuffling, coughing, sneezing mess.  

God bless hot lemonade.  Hot water, lemon juice and a little sugar (sorry, I can't do without...).  It's actually kind of soothing, in a tough, raspy way.  (No, I am not making sense now, am I?)  Well anyhow, my husband swears by eating raw lemons and so far he's held out.  I can't do that.  So I drink them.  (Next best thing?)  

Needless to say I've been taking it easy these past few days.  A little crochet here, a little (umm, ok fine a lot of) reading there, some resting, lots of soup, lots of tea (and hot lemonades).  That's me anyhow.  The kids are still going full throttle.  It's tough for them to slow down for mom.  

Not to say that we haven't had happenings in our home and kitchen.  It's just much, much slower; much fewer culinary projects happening simultaneously.  Slow, slow, slow.  That's where I'm at.  Happily, I did manage to make that apple custard pie for tomorrow's Thanksgiving feast.  Small victories.  (I will post the recipe someday - it is probably the best apple pie we've ever had.)  

Happy Thanksgiving, fellow Canadians!

6 October 2014

Hopping around the world

Yesterday I was tagged in a question and answer type blog hop by Kim at Mothering with Mindfulness.  She is a gem of a lady - so focused on living naturally with the seasons.  Her knitting is superb and she even makes her own body butter.  (My hero!)

Alrighty.  Here goes.

What am I working on?

That's a loaded question, indeed!  Generally, I work on a few things at a time - a project with the kids, something for myself when I need a minute to chill, .  More specifically, I am currently working on two messenger bags (can't post photos yet as they are Christmas gifts), 3 jars of lacto-fermented pickles, two crochet owl hats, a byzantine angel pencil sketch, salt dough ornaments that need decorating and a random swath of stockinette stitch (for knitting practice).  I have some projects on hold, but I guess they don't count.  I enjoy having a variety of creations I can jump to if I need a moment of pause on something else.

How does my work differ from others?

I think just in flavour.  Most of what I do others do and have been doing for hundreds, even thousands of years.  I follow the footsteps of my parents, grandparents, and their ancestors.  But I'd like to think that what I make has a least a small bit of unique flavour.  A smidgen of me woven through the threads.  My thoughts;  a crooked line or too small stitch; different colour or fabric combinations; love.

Why do I create what I do?

Well, this whole making things deal has been a part of my life from childhood.  It's a joy to use my own hands and make something utilitarian, beautiful or fun.  And it became more intense when I had my own kiddies.  It actually feels almost like an unconscious imitation of the Omnipotent Creator.  In whatever capacity, I think every human being is driven to create something.  My interest, passions and circumstances have led me here: yarn, paint, food, fabric.  (And everything in-between.)

Besides giving me immense satisfaction, I also feel that it makes life simpler.  And slower.  It's something I had to experience to really understand.  

How does my creative process work?

Sometimes with Pinterest.  (Oh, Pinterest, how I do love thee!  Let me count the ways...)  Sometimes I'll stumble upon an idea trolling through favourite blogs.  Sometimes inspiration strikes.  And sometimes just plain old necessity comes knocking.  However it starts off, the beginning is usually messy.  Lots of scraps, smudges and ripped out rows.  Always worth any frustrations in the end.  

Thanks so much, Kim for your invitation to this blog hop.  I would like to invite three ladies, whom I have yet to meet, to keep the ball rolling and share their stories.  

Honestly, I love following their blogs and being inspired daily by their creativity!  Check out their spaces and see what marvellous things these talented ladies can do!!  

4 October 2014


The kitchen is the heartbeat of our home.  There is always something going on here.  Always a gathering of bodies.  Here are some of the things we've been up to during the week...

*                      *                         *                          *                     *                       *                       *

 :: Fried potatoes and eggs... so simple and yummy I wish I'd thought of it!  Alongside is a pan of roasted veggies.  I have to have beets at least once during the week, it seems.  What a weird craving to have.  Maybe not so much of a craving.  It's just that beets and I have a whole lot of catching up to do - like 3 decades.

:: Steamed string beans with beef chunks.  A favourite around here.  (That pot was not enough for us!)

:: Oatmeal banana cookies.  A nice way to use up the overripe bananas that needed to be eaten.  And a healthy treat to pack for school during the week.

:: Zucchini boat pizzas.  If you've never made them, you don't know what you're missing.  SO good.  I didn't expect them to be that good.  It's really like eating a pizza - you don't miss the crust at all.  Hurray for culinary discoveries!  Alongside is a huge shepherd's pie.  I figure that should be enough for a day or two this weekend.  We are usually out and about on the weekends, so it's nice to come home and have dinner (or lunch) ready and only needing to be heated up.  

:: Apple custard pie.  I had to try this.  I've had it with pears before, but this is my first go with apples.  It's funny how pie baking seems to be becoming a weekend tradition this fall.  Mostly everyone I've been running into is enjoying apple pies too.  Personally, I'm looking forward to donuts!  (The apple cider variety... sprinkled with cinnamon sugar.)  

I had to share these last two photos of J.  She is changing so much!  I love watching her little personality spring forth.  She is independent, mischievous and kind.  She loves to read, loves to play with S, loves to run.  When D plops her in the swimming pool, her little legs never stop.  She is so eager to accomplish whatever M does.  Most days, she is my helper - a very conscientious helper.  She loves getting out her own little rolling pin and playing with dough.  In fact, she asked me so mournfully on Friday to make some zaatar (I didn't have dough on hand), that I was guilted into making salt dough ornaments.  A perfect way to spend a rainy morning.  Now we have some of our Christmas preparations underway in October!  At the very least, I had a happy 3 year old

Happy weekend!

30 September 2014

Pondering along

Dear Mom, thank you for knowing and loving me so well that you always give me the perfect gift.  This one is my favourite - case and all.  Hands down.  It will see much use in the coming years, I can promise you.  But then again, you already knew that.  I love you.

We have blueberry ice cream waiting to fully chill in the freezer.  We made up the recipe using a basic outline from the strawberry and vanilla ones we love.  (Fingers crossed!)  We are not quite as high tech as we don't have an ice cream maker.  Actually, I don't think we have room for one.  We've made do just fine without.  Just means that I have to be around to stir a pan or container of the sweet cream as it's freezing.  Not such a sacrifice.  We used 4 cups of summer blueberries - berries that we've had in the freezer for almost a month.  Actually, I think somewhere, there are still blueberries coming in.  Our farmer's market is still selling them!

One Hello Kitty hat done, and one very happy 3 year old.  Who is now waiting impatiently for the weather to get colder.  (Scratch that, she's not waiting at all - she sports the hat no matter the heat.)  And now I have the two owlie hats on my hook.  Also my knitting is getting better.  I feel it!  (So says every novice knitter...)  I am loving this stockinette stitch.  Just beautiful.  I wish I could knit up a bunch of sweaters!  I am in love with a swatch of yarn.  That and happy enough that another item gets crossed off my bucket list.  Ahem, I will say that said bucket list does tend to grow longer by the week despite my best efforts.  Of course, now you realize that my list is hardly glamourous or adventurous.  But it suits me just fine.  I've become more of a crafter and homebody in my old age.

I've written in the past about how much we want a house to raise our family in.  It is very expensive to buy in our area.  Ridiculously so.  We want so much to give our children a life where they can connect to God through nature - where we can be refreshed by a walk say in the forest (without needing to drive to one); where we dig in the garden with purpose; where we harvest their own food on a respectable scale; where we spend more time outside than in; where we see and study nature and the seasons first hand; where we quiet down, slow down and sit down together a little more.  That's what a house represents to us.  We are presently trying to figure out if we need to leave the city (hard because of D's work), or resign ourselves to the present situation and hope for the best in another few years.  A decision that will need some serious pondering, that's for sure.

As we ponder along, I hope you are having a beautiful day, because the sun is shining and the birds are singing here.  (Even alongside the cars zooming on the highway.)

27 September 2014


There are times, more often than not actually, I find myself in the kitchen happily cooking, baking or otherwise messing around.  Yes'm, I enjoy kitchen work!  And even when I find myself in a bit of a rut, it's easier to force myself to work in the kitchen than anywhere else.  (Hmm, that may arise from necessity...)  

This week, it feels like fall has exploded in the kitchen.  Lots of autumn colours!  Lots of autumn smells!  For instance, we roasted beets, sweet potatoes and butternut squash in the oven.  A little garlic, a little oil, a little salt.  Add some corn on the cob and you have a lovely dinner.  SO good!  It felt like I ate dessert instead of dinner!  :)  Next time, I will definitely add more beets.  They were earthy and delicious - they grounded the whole dish.  Which, by the way, is quite filling.  

I had half of a squash left over, so I added it to some chicken and chopped potatoes, tossed it with some olive oil and salt and threw it all in the oven.  Some pretty neat pops of colour.  

Today I baked a pie.  The kids abandoned me for an old fashioned game of chips and dice (tawleh). And that sentence makes it sound like I'm raising gamblers... but I digress.  Solo apple pie.  Yum.  It feels like a while I've baked something.  Autumn will do that to you.  Despite the sunny, 28 degrees Celcius weather outside, it feels like a pie day.  

Happy weekend to you!